Nav: Home

Academic calls for laws to address intrusive potential of face recognition technologies

June 19, 2015

A telecommunications law academic in Australia has recommended for laws to be enacted criminalising the application of face recognition technology to visual images online that enable the identity of a person or people to be ascertained without their consent.

An article published today in the International Journal of Law and Information Technology has looked at the absence of laws surrounding face recognition technologies and has found that there are no laws which specifically address the issue of unauthorised application of face recognition technologies to online images. With the increasing popularity of uploading photographs on social networking sites, the paper calls for law and policy makers around the world to see this as a critical issue. Author of the paper, Associate Professor Niloufer Selvadurai says that, "there is a need to protect individual identity and autonomy through enactment of appropriate laws to countervail the potential threats to privacy posed by the application of facial recognition technologies."

Face recognition technologies involve a one-to-many process of identification whereby complex algorithms relating to facial features and appearance are utilised to identify an unknown party from a set of known possibilities. This comparison feature of the technology is what houses the potential to undermine individual privacy.

Using Australian law as an example case study as well as looking at laws and social norms around the world, the article analyses one of the fastest growing areas of biometric technology and concludes that this technology could be readily accessible to the general public, moving it beyond commercial systems. Although face recognition technologies have been in use for some time, it has been enhanced by the relatively recent development of 3D scanning technology which enables significantly increased accuracy. The article infers that the current approach is not suitable to the modern digital environment. They also talk about the need to appreciate a 'two-way mirror model of the internet' - where public and private users are simultaneously watching and being watched - when thinking about new laws to protect privacy from face recognition technology.

The author commented that "the law should be responsible for creating private spaces within the otherwise public space of the internet". They went on to say that, "it is recommended that a new part be added to the Criminal Code that prohibits the application of face recognition technologies to visual images on the internet so as to obtain information on identity." The article also stressed the importance of exceptions relating to national security and law enforcement.

The laws recommended by Associate Professor Selvadurai encourage the protection of online identity by enabling an individual to be "just a face in the crowd".
-end-


Oxford University Press

Related Technology Articles:

How technology use affects at-risk adolescents
More use of technology led to increases in attention, behavior and self-regulation problems over time for adolescents already at risk for mental health issues, a new study from Duke University finds.
Hold-up in ventures for technology transfer
The transfer of technology brings ideas closer to commercialization. The transformation happens in several steps, such as invention, innovation, building prototypes, production, market introduction, market expansion, after sales services.
The ultimate green technology
Imagine patterning and visualizing silicon at the atomic level, something which, if done successfully, will revolutionize the quantum and classical computing industry.
New technology detects COPD in minutes
Pioneering research by Professor Paul Lewis of Swansea University's Medical School into one of the most common lung diseases in the UK, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, has led to the development of a new technology that can quickly and easily diagnose and monitor the condition.
New technology for powder metallurgy
Tecnalia leads EFFIPRO (Energy EFFIcient PROcess of Engineering Materials) project, which shows a new manufacturing process using powder metallurgy.
More Technology News and Technology Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...